WCO supports Single Window implementation in Bangladesh

16 October 2017

Pursuant to the World Customs Organization Mercator Implementation Plan for Bangladesh, designed to provide sustainable, tailor-made and results-based capacity building support to enable effective implementation of trade facilitation measures, the WCO conducted a 4-day National Single Window (NSW) workshop at Srimongal, Bangladesh from 02nd to 05th October 2017, with the support of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), Bangladesh and the WCO-HMRC-UNCTAD project.

In his inaugural remarks, Honorable State Minister for Ministry of Finance & Ministry of Planning Mr. M.A. Mannan, appreciated the initiative taken by the WCO and NBR to organize the NSW workshop and expected that NSW would bring all regulatory agencies concerned with import-export under single umbrella, benefiting  traders and government with reduced transaction costs and improved efficiency.  The Chairman of the NBR welcomed the WCO technical assistance and capacity building programme to support regulatory agencies in preparing them for NSW and urged the workshop participants to come up with specific recommendations for an efficient implementation of NSW.

Around 25 officials from senior and middle management of  NBR and other government agencies in Bangladesh concerned with international trade regulation and policy such as Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, ICT Division, Atomic Energy Commission, Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Tax Academy, Land Port Authority, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, Drug Administration, Port Authority and operational managers from different functional areas of Customs and major ports/airports /land ports, participated in the workshop.

The main objective of the Workshop was to provide the cross-border regulatory agencies (CBRAs) concerned with import-export in Bangladesh with the WCO perspective and domain knowledge on the Single Window implementation, taking into account the experiences and best practices from other countries that have successfully implemented similar solutions. The workshop also aimed at providing technical delivery and independent advice in relation to conceptualization, design and planning of NSW. 

During the workshop, participants discussed the cross border trade regulatory regime in Bangladesh and the related ongoing ICT initiatives. The WCO experts presented various WCO instruments and tools relevant to trade facilitation that provide guidance to government agencies and private trade partners in developing effective operational procedures in a harmonized manner. Further, WCO experts outlined the concepts of Coordinated Border Management (CBM), Cross Border Regulatory Single Window, Stakeholder Engagement, Business Process Analysis(BPA), Integrated Risk Management, Data Harmonization etc. supported by case studies from different countries, highlighting challenges identified and the trade facilitation innovations adopted in the design and implementation of SW environment. In addition, the participants, with the support of experts, carried out practical exercises for BPA within the context of cross border regulatory regime in Bangladesh and for data harmonization for NSW.

The participants having gained the conceptual and technical knowledge about CBM and Single Window recommended that the proposed NSW model should include the essential features of Single Window - single entry point for all regulatory information, single submission and harmonized CBRA response - for all clearances pertaining to cross border trade.  The participants identified key issues for NSW planning and made valuable recommendations for its successful implementation.

The WCO workshop on Single Window proved very effective in significantly enhancing the internal capacity of key CBRAs to plan NSW and promote trade facilitation in Bangladesh. The quality of deliberations through the Workshop highlighted the strong level of absorption by participants about Single Window environment and the importance of stakeholder engagement & CBM for its successful implementation.